A new year means new beginnings, and a whole new crop of not-your-usual historical romances to land on your shopping list! This month features new books from fan favorites, new releases in series and a bumper crop of actresses and servants.
Less Than a Lady by Eva Devon
To win a lord, you can’t be a lady…
Darcy Blake, Earl of Chase, is a soldier, rogue, and a loyal King’s man. Commanded to spy on the luscious actress Amelia Fox, Darcy must pretend to be her student for a court theatrical. He is certain he can school her in the art of seduction while discovering if she is a traitor. But to his shock, he finds Mrs. Fox teaching him an entirely different kind of lesson.
As London’s most popular actress, Amelia is famous at court, and she doesn’t have a husband to tell her what do. Unfortunately, the king has ordered her to train the rakehell, Lord Chase to act for the court. Before long, the Earl is driving her wild with desire and awakening her heart to love. As an actress, society dictates she can never be more than Lord Chase’s mistress, and Amelia has vowed never to be less than a lady.
When Darcy learns the witty actress is indeed linked to a traitor, he’ll have to decide if love or loyalty will rule the day.
A former Golden Heart winner, Devon has also published romances under the name Maire Claremont–most notably the dark Victorian Mad Passions series.
Listen to the Moon by Rose Lerner
When upstairs valet meets downstairs maid, the line between work and play blurs.
Lively St. Lemeston, Book 3
John Toogood dreamed of being valet to a great man…before he was laid off and blacklisted. Now he’s stuck in small-town Lively St. Lemeston until London’s Season opens and he can begin his embarrassing job hunt.
His instant attraction to happy-go-lucky maid Sukey Grimes couldn’t come at a worse time. Her manners are provincial, her respect for authority nonexistent, and her outdated cleaning methods—well, the less said about them, the better.
Behind John’s austere façade, Sukey catches tantalizing glimpses of a lonely man with a gift for laughter. Yet her heart warns her not to fall for a man with one foot out the door, no matter how devastating his kiss.
Then he lands a butler job in town—but there’s a catch. His employer, the vicar, insists Toogood be respectably married. Against both their better judgments, he and Sukey come to an arrangement. But the knot is barely tied when Sukey realizes she underestimated just how vexing it can be to be married to the boss…
Fan favorite Lerner is known for writing historical romances with unique elements and I could not one-click this one fast enough! Hero and heroine – both of them servants?! Sign me up! Library Journal calls this one “well-researched” and “erotically tinged.”
The Improper Bride by Lily Maxton
Cold, arrogant, and demanding Lord Henry Eldridge, Marquess of Riverton, would never dally with a mere servant. But when Henry is injured in a horrible fire, his pretty housekeeper Cassandra nurses him back to health, throwing them together day and night. As he slowly heals from his burns, their friendship blossoms, and the class walls between them start to crumble. Cassandra is surprised by glimpses of a kind and thoughtful man beneath her employer’s hard façade—and even more surprised when she develops tender feelings for him. But anything between lord and servant is impossible…and besides, as a widow, she knows love only leads to heartbreak.
Henry is changing, as well. His close brush with death has opened his eyes to his self-imposed emotional isolation…and has urgently reminded him of his duty to marry a well-bred lady and produce an heir. Determined to do right by his family name, he immediately begins searching for a suitable bride. But Cassandra is the only woman who is never far from his mind or his heart. Contrary to everything he’s been taught to believe, he realizes his lovely housekeeper might just be his perfect match. Now, if only he could convince everyone else of that. Especially Cassandra…
This is the fifth title in Maxton’s Sisters of Scandal series for Entangled Publishing. While that series has kept her busying writing and publishing since its start in 2014, she found time in 2015 to publish her first contemporary New Adult novel, One Good Thing.
Actress AND Servant!
She Whom I Love by Tess Bowery
Love would be simpler if it came with a script.
Marguerite Ceniza dies on the London stage each night, but her own life has barely begun. The ingénue is on the prowl for a lover, but while she burns with desire for Sophie, a confession could ruin their decade-long friendship. In the meantime there are always men vying to be her patron, and square-jawed, broad-shouldered James Glover can’t help but catch her eye.
Sophie Armand has been a lady’s maid for too long, and she’s sick of keeping secrets. Her hidden scripts and the story of her birth are only the beginning. Her nights are haunted by desperate thoughts of the beguiling Marguerite, and of James, the handsome tradesman who whispers promises of forever into her ear.
James has the kind of problem a lot of men would kill for—two women, both beautiful, both sensual, and both willing. Sophie wants marriage, while Marguerite’s only in it for fun, and choosing between them isn’t easy.
What’s the worst that could happen if he secretly courts them both?
Their romantic triangle is complicated in the most delicious way, until a shadowy figure from Marguerite’s past threatens to destroy the budding relationship—and their lives.
We’ve had actresses, we’ve had servants – and now we have a book that gives us both. This is the second title in Bowery’s Treading the Boards series for Samhain. Not only does it have not-your-usual historical elements in play, but also a little something different for you erotic romance fans. F/F/M ménage books aren’t exactly thick on the ground, giving readers another reason to take a closer look.
Enraptured by Candace Camp
When Coll Munro finds himself supervising an archaeological dig on the sprawling Highlands estate of Duncally, the handsome Scot’s only worry is his former crofter friends, who seem to delight in making his job as hard as possible. Little does he know his biggest problem comes in a much smaller package. Gorgeous Violet Thornhill is an exasperating, meddling bluestocking who came to the site to examine the ruins and instead finds herself studying Coll. The unyielding Highlander and the headstrong English beauty clash at every turn. But when a midnight intruder threatens Violet and the excavation itself, these polar opposites must work together to solve a decades-old mystery. As Coll and Violet race to decipher long-buried clues, will they discover riches hidden years ago...or an unbridled passion more precious than gold?
This is the third book in Camp’s Secrets of the Loch series and it’s notable for an archeology theme in a book not set in Egypt. Hey, I like Egypt as much as the next girl – but an archeological dig in Regency Scotland? When was the last time you read that?
Lessons in Loving by Peter McAra
Wanted: Governess. Properly qualified in English, to instruct male pupil in rural location.
Sydney, 1902. Desperate for a job, Kate Courtney travels to the faraway New England Ranges to interview for a governess position. She is greeted by wealthy landowner, ruggedly handsome Tom Fortescue, and is shocked to find that her new charge isn’t a small boy—but the grown man.
It was Tom’s mother’s dying wish that he find a refined, elegant, English bride to marry. But a country man with country manners can never win a lady fair. Tom needs Kate to smooth away his rough edges, make him desirable to the English rose he wants to marry.
But the more time Kate and Tom spend together, the closer they become, and Tom has to decide between the dreams of his childhood, and the reality that is right in front of him.
This is a rural historical from Harlequin Australia’s Escape digital imprint. McAra was bit by the romance writing bug while working on a communications degree. This is his third published work with Escape.
Temptress Unbound by Lisa Cach
The sensuous sixth story in national bestselling author Lisa Cach’s passionate Fifty Shades of Grey meets Game of Thrones series about a young Roman Empire slave who, after being tutored in the sexual arts by her king, runs away to save her life.
Once trained in the carnal arts to be the king’s concubine, Nimia has a prophetic gift that is triggered by her sexual encounters. Finally free, she forsakes the powerful men who have used her gifts for their own gain. As her sexual adventures continue, she searches for true love—and for her people, the Phanne, from whom she was originally stolen.
This is the sixth installment in Cach’s 1001 Erotic Nights serial that follows the adventures (boy howdy!) of a former sex slave determined to uncover her past. Cach published many well-received books for, now-defunct, Dorchester then had a bit of a publishing layoff. This serial has been great fun, in the vein of old school erotic romance. Here’s hoping Cach has more books in the works.
One Night with the Viking by Harper St. George
“You don't understand what you do to me.”
His whole life, Gunnar has felt unworthy of love. Then one unforgettable night, his childhood sweetheart Kadlin offers herself to him. Knowing he will never truly deserve her, he leaves the next morning… The memories will have to last a lifetime.
Kadlin was devastated when Gunnar left. Now, two years later, he returns, wounded from his battles across the sea. And Kadlin must decide whether to trust him again, and tell him about the true consequence of their one night together!
This is the second book in St. George’s Viking Warriors series and her second published title with Harlequin Historical. She fell in love with writing romance in high school and one of her early attempts featured space vampires! I’m torn on whether it’s a good or bad thing we have not been graced with space vampires in the genre…
Saving Mariana by Lauri Robinson
Sea captain Richard Tarr must claim his child after the death of his estranged wife. Arriving in Salem, he's shocked to discover his daughter is in the care of Marina Lindqvist—a rumored witch!
This beautiful, gentle woman awakens unfamiliar feelings in Richard. And as the threat from the Salem witch hunters grows, he knows he must protect misunderstood Marina at all costs. Little does he know that with Marina helping him bond with his little girl, she might just be saving him right back…
Even as Harlequin was publishing her 1920s series in 2015, I was looking forward to this release, a romance set during the Salem Witch Trials! Next up for Robinson? Back to westerns. She has an anthology and two full-length Harlequin Historicals on tap for 2016.
Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins
Rhine Fontaine is building the successful life he's always dreamed of—one that depends upon him passing for White. But for the first time in years, he wishes he could step out from behind the façade. The reason: Eddy Carmichael, the young woman he rescued in the desert. Outspoken, defiant, and beautiful, Eddy tempts Rhine in ways that could cost him everything . . . and the price seems worth paying.
Eddy owes her life to Rhine, but she won't risk her heart for him. As soon as she's saved enough money from her cooking, she'll leave this Nevada town and move to California. No matter how handsome he is, no matter how fiery the heat between them, Rhine will never be hers. Giving in for just one night might quench this longing. Or it might ignite an affair as reckless and irresistible as it is forbidden...
A new Beverly Jenkins romance is cause for celebration and Forbidden has already garnered some wonderful reviews, including an RT Book Reviews Top Pick! Publisher’s Weekly says, “Jenkins combines vivid characters and sexual intensity with historical accuracy in a story and setting that will appeal to her core fans and newcomers alike.”
Want Ad Wife by Katy Madison
Abandoned as a child, John Bench has always craved a family of his own. Even if it means advertising for a wife from back East.
Selina Montgomery must keep her new husband at a distance. Because if John discovers the truth about the secret she once carried, their mail-order marriage could crumble before it's even begun! They've promised to love, honor and obey, but can the spark that flares between them transform Selina and John's wedding vows into a passion that will last forever?
Madison wraps up her Wild West Wedding series for Harlequin Historical with this final book. RT Book Reviews calls it, “…an emotional and dramatic tale of love, lies and second chances.”
What not-your-usual historicals are making your shopping list this month?
Learn more about the books mentioned in this post:
Wendy the Super Librarian also blogs at WendyTheSuperLibrarian.blogspot.com. So dig that library card out of your pocket and head for the stacks.